(coming soon!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Decisive Moment ... or not

I've been hearing much from writers and scholars that art/photography students are no longer reading nor worrying about writing.

This just happened: Walking up my stairs, I glance up to see my two cats - one a beautiful red tabby and the other a black whatever whom I rarely photograph but whom, like all pet lovers, I will definitely sink to capturing from time to time - sitting regally together, also a rare encounter, lit in luxurious noon light from a window.  The perfect image.

But, since it is my home, neither my iphone nor camera is hooked to my body so ... I lost the picture.  It was a good one.   It was also the one that quite literally got away.

Henri Cartier-Bresson coined the term "The Decisive Moment."  For us to understand it, we
must read his words and understand what he meant.  For us to capture one of these so precious opportunities we must understand language and if, in my case, we lost the image, how then can we explain that wondrous event and share that moment with others?  It takes language. It takes knowledge. It takes conversation, learning and of course, reading.

My moment is gone on this busy day so I am not going to write anymore but were I to have the time, that work is hard but I know that I am aided by what experience,  knowledge and literature (including poetry and beautiful non-fiction prose) has given to me as tools and inspiration to write and share.

Just as we experience, share and are inspired by our and other's art and photography, so must we not forget the literary arts. It is part of our own artist's being.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Discussion & Book-Signing at Artbook@HauserWirth/LA on 21 July!!!!!

What a great day this was!  So honored that Shana Nys Dambrot took time from her incredibly busy schedule as an art critic, writer and curator to explore with me the LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME, 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION.  Loved the discussion over this first book that I ever created where I married the so expressive artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat to Dr. Maya Angelou's powerful words about empowerment and overcoming fear.

It's been 25 years since LIFE was first published and in the ensuing time, I became the artist that I always wanted to be and this perspective on this new, updated edition of mine (Abrams Books) was so fascinating to chat about.

Artbook@Hauser&Wirth/LA did a great job and loved the two ways in which they shelved LIFE25, especially where it was living with Karl Lagerfield and Basquiat and Albers.... good conversations there.

Thanks to Carolyn Campbell for the pics below:

on to the next signings!

Monday, July 9, 2018

For LA friends and followers: Mark your calendar for Saturday, 21 July, 3-5 pm for a discussion, book-signing with Shana Nys Dambrot on the 25th Anniversary Edition of LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME (Abrams) where I paired the so expressive artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat with the great empowering 1978 poem of Dr. Maya Angelou.  To be held at artbook@Hauser&Wirth/LA!

See you there!  


Monday, April 30, 2018

Since last post, there have been more lovely reviews of the 25th Anniversary Edition of LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME, some soon to post.  Today I caught this one from the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, under the headline


"Young readers are invited to ponder the attributes of peacemakers and peacemaking — courage, defiance, compassion, conviction and imagination — in new picture books.
These titles wield poetry and prose, image and song in the name of peace and personal connection. ...
The 25th anniversary edition of “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” (ages 4 and older, 40 pages, Abrams Books for Young Readers, $19.95) pairs Maya Angelou’s poem about courage and fear with strong and daring paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Editor Sara Jane Boyers curated a conversation between Angelou and Basquiat, two black artists intimately familiar with overcoming obstacles and racial marginalization. This volume is a vibrant reminder, as relevant or more today, of the power of naming our fears and claiming triumph over them."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Life In The Canyon _ Post Mortem

I live in a canyon that was the 19th Century site of the first forestry research station established in the US where various trees were brought to California, among them the magnificent eucalyptus. Two days ago one of them, probably 100+ years old and around which I built my home is now scheduled  to disappear, too large and too old to live and be safe. I walk the yard before the sun appears. I look up through skylights to try to imagine the void, clear sky it will leave behind when I used to feel so protected by its covering.. In three days it will be no more...even the trunk will be ground into the earth.  

Here is its story: 

A house support column was in danger, A pencil line crack was running a slow jagged line around its circumference.  Concrete but obviously not impermeable and the rebar in danger of moisture, resultant rust and weakening.

The ground was riddled with wrinkle lines of surface tree roots from this ancient tree, shallow rooted and worrisome in and of itself for the Eucalypts were brought to the US as savior trees - windbreaks, wood - yet abandoned due to their brittle nature, their tendency to fall, many far younger that ours.  Yet they are beautiful, scented and majestic.

Ours had to come down.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

OMGosh LIFE25 is OUT!!!!

Reviews rolling in, both in the States and abroad and  now, on the eve of ALA Midwinter (on of the biggest and most important of book fairs, American Library Association - I've given seminars there before!), LIFE25 is up at the Abrams Booth when ALA starts tomorrow!

and of course it is NOW Black History Month, a special time when we have the opportunity to understand, even more clearly, how so many artists and writers who have become American legends such as Dr. Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat had to struggle to make themselves seen and heard because of race.  We are in a better time now although ironically, a difficult time when tensions have again arisen.  Let's all work to ensure that we are all heard and not through the filter of something that defines us, yes, but NOT something that stops us.  That is the message not only of LIFE25 but should be for us all.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Life Doesn't Frighten Me: 25th Anni Edition


**More Reviews/Mentions Rolling In ...

Great mention in this weekend's Wall Street Journal
(this is behind a subscriber pay wall so I am posting it here just in text form.)

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s fierce, tumultuous paintings (see above) exude terrific power—and a measure of unexpected humor—when paired with Maya Angelou’s verse in the picture book “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” (Abrams, 40 pages, $19.95). First published in 1993, this arresting volume, edited by Sara Jane Boyers, uses a high-impact typeface to convey its message of defiance. “Shadows on the wall / Noises down the hall / Life / Doesn’t / Frighten / Me / at all,” writes Angelou (1928-2014). A skeletal man and dog splashed with red and orange paint, a monstrous bear-man, and other images by Basquiat (1960-88) express wild feelings and even terrors. We see two inchoate figures battle with boxing gloves, their teeth bared, and read: “Tough guys in a fight / All alone at night / Life doesn’t / Frighten me / At all.” It’s a refrain that children ages 6-10 may want to chant to themselves long after they’ve put down the book.